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Catholics and Protestants unite over Richard III funeral

SCAtoday.net - Wed, 2014-12-31 15:10

Richard III died before the Reformation, but Leicester Cathedral, where the king will be buried, is staunchly Anglican, facts which should have produced strife. The funeral of a king, however, has brought the two faiths together to offer Richard III a burial "with the dignity befitting his rank."

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Categories: SCA news sites

Peter Joyner placed on vigil in Northshield

SCAtoday.net - Wed, 2014-12-31 12:43

Master Yehudah nagid ben Yitzhak, Minister of Protocol, reports that at Their Feast of St. Maurus. Their Majesties Vladimir and Petranella of the Kingdom of Northshield placed Peter Joyner (fka Petro Petrovitch) on vigil to contemplate elevation to the Order of the Chivalry.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Mudthaw to be Held at New Location

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2014-12-31 09:00

The Barony of Settmour Swamp’s annual celebration of the Thawing of the Mud will be held on the last weekend of March at Waterloo Village, our new location in Stanhope, NJ. As usual, Mudthaw will include tournaments of armored combat, fencing, and youth fighting. The arts and sciences will also be celebrated through competitions and displays, as well as an artisans row.

Please note that our new location does not allow alcoholic beverages to be brought on site; however, a cash bar will be serving beer and wine for much of the day.

For more information, please see the event announcement at http://www.eastkingdom.org/EventDetails.html?eid=2790.


Filed under: Events, Fencing, Heavy List, Local Groups Tagged: mudthaw

The Year in History Blog History

History Blog - Tue, 2014-12-30 23:15

And so another year ends and a new one dawns. As has become customary, I shall pay Janus his due by looking back at the Year in History Blog History. Statistically speaking, it has been a rich year, with nearly 1,600,000 total pageviews. In June we passed the milestone of 5,000,000 total pageviews since stats were installed in 2009. We’ll end the year just 85,000 or so views short of the six million mark which, fair warning, I plan to celebrate with some sort of Steve Austin reference.

I was delighted to see statistical support for one of my little follies this year. Some of you mocked my love for the world’s oldest eel when I blogged about his demise at the venerable age of 155 this August, but it turns out we Åle appreciators are legion. That entry was the most viewed new post of the year with 13,582 views. (Brundage’s sex flowchart from the Medieval penitentials, a perpetual favorite since I first posted it in 2010, was the most viewed of the year with 16,831 views.) The second most viewed new entry this year was a surprise: the deciphering of the French shorthand annotations in the 1504 edition of Homer’s Odyssey printed in Venice by Aldus Manutius. People dig puzzles, man, and that wasn’t the only article about shorthand to get tons of attention this year.

Probably the biggest story of the year in terms of sheer media saturation was the excavation of the great Kasta tumulus in Amphipolis. There were so many developments in quick succession that I had to restrain myself from posting about them daily. As it is I covered the initial discovery of the mosaic, the reveal of the Persephone portion, the discovery of what may or may not be the head of one of the entrance sphinxes and lastly of the human remains. Little stories are still cropping up even though the excavation is over for now, but I’m holding back until we get some concrete news.

Most enjoyable reasearch rabbit hole award goes to the backstory of the 1908 cartoon illustrating the dire consequences of women being allowed to smoke in public establishments. I had a wonderful time digging through the period newspaper articles about the controversy that exploded at the end of 1907 over the prospect of women being allowed to smoke in the public rooms of the trendy Fifth Avenue French restaurant Café Martin. The story has everything: women’s rights, European sophisticates versus US pearl-clutchers, a deeply corrupt politician who had knocked up at least a half-dozen dance hall girls and would soon die of syphilis lecturing women about moral behavior, and best of all, a fantasy vision of a bar filled with liberated ladies doing naughty things under the shadow of a free fudge and almonds buffet.

Not as playful but perhaps even more compelling was the life story of Anne of Brittany explored on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of her death. She was so young when she had to lead men-at-arms and hurtle head-first into political gamesmanship with kings and emperors to save the independence of her homeland. The only woman to ever be queen of France twice, from the age of 14 until her death at 36, she was pregnant at least 14 times with only two daughters surviving. Between all that, she somehow she found the time to rule her duchy and introduce the art and philosophy of Renaissance humanism to France. The tomb she commissioned for her father, Duke Francis II, was the first work in the Renaissance style done in France, and since I didn’t post this in the original entry, I’m taking the opportunity now to glory in the phenomenal carving of the allegory of Courage defeating the dragon of Evil/Discord which as attacked the tower of Good/Conscience. All the sculptures on the tomb are exceptional, but I am completely obsessed with that dragon.

Probably the most enjoyable post to write was the one about how Misty the Diplodocus lead researchers to discover 55 barnacle specimens assembled, labeled and presented to a Danish colleague by Charles Darwin himself. From the teenagers who beat their dad to the money dinosaur fossils to the Darwin expert with specific knowledge of his fossil trades being in charge of finding specimens for the Natural History Museum of Denmark’s Misty-inspired exhibition, it was such a randomly fortuitous chain of events.

I also loved learning more about the Adena Mound in Chillicothe, Ohio, which at the beginning of the year was the radiocarbon dated to the first century A.D. The history of the mound is a sad one — it suffered the fate of so many of its brethren when it was busted down to nothing in 1901 so the land could be farmed — but the excavation that destroyed it also saved the small fragments of tree bark that made the dating possible now that the technology is advanced enough to work with tiny samples.

Speaking of the dire fate of Ohio earthworks, it was averted for the Hopewell Junction Group earthworks also in Chillicothe. The non-profit Arc of Appalachia was able to purchase 193 acres covering the earthworks after just eight frenetic days of fundraising. It wasn’t the only fundraising triumph this year. The Art Fund’s campaign to acquire the unparalleled artistic and industrial archive that is the Wedgwood Collection succeeded in record time, raising £2.74 million in three weeks.

One of my favorite finds of the year was the Roman wooden toilet seat unearthed at Vindolanda. Roman sites all over the former empire are lousy with stone toilet seats, but this is the first wooden one known to have survived thanks to the waterlogged soil of Northumberland. There’s an update to this story that is almost as awesome as the original. Tosca and Willoughby, makers of very upmarket custom toilet seats for the discerning and well-moneyed butt, pledged to create a special edition of their luxury Thunderbox line of wooden toilet seats and donate some of the proceeds to the Vindolanda Trust to help defray the cost of preservation.

“We are absolutely fascinated by the discovery of a perfectly-preserved ancient loo seat,” said James Williams, the Director of the company whose money will maintain the chemical conservation of the artefact.

“As our own seats are handcrafted, we admire the Roman craftsmanship which, in this case, has certainly stood the test of time.”

There is not one part of that I don’t love, and it’s a fine thematic companion to the barrels of 700-year-old human excrement excavated in Odense, Denmark.

In the fever dreams caused by excessive viewings of Antiques Roadshow category, you can’t beat the midwestern scrap metal dealer who found a lost Fabergé Imperial Eater Egg, bought it purely for its precious metal content and then refused to melt it down when everyone told him he’d overpaid. If he hadn’t been so stubborn, and if he hadn’t happened to have Googled the Vacheron clock inside the egg which led him to a 2011 article about a newly rediscovered auction photograph of the egg from 1964, this priceless historical artifact would have been converted into a few thousand dollars worth of molten metal and disappeared forever.

I also loved seeing the replica of a 24-pound bronze cannon from the Vasa, the Swedish warship that sank on its maiden voyage in 1628, shot. The smoke, the recoil, the sound, the exploding wood fragments when the ball makes contact with the replica section of the Vasa‘s hull, brings to vivid life the chaotic scariness of 17th century nautical battles. As if that weren’t neat enough, Fred Hocker, Director of the Vasa Cannon Project, popped into the comments to answer people’s questions and generally be the coolest guy in the house.

It was a great year for textiles. There was the recreation of the Iron Age woolen tunic found in a melting glacier in Norway, the altar frontal hand-embroidered by World War I soldiers as occupational therapy during their convalescence, the oldest known trousers found in China, the return of the 2,000-year-old Paracas textiles from Sweden to Peru, and the gloriously beautiful Veldman-Eecen Collection of 18th century Indian chintz garments acquired by the Peabody Essex Museum.

It was a great year for hoards, too. There was the hoard of Byzantine gold coins found in the Netherlands’ northeastern Drenthe province, the jewelry hoard hidden in Colchester to keep it safe from Boudicca’s army descending upon the city, the Dumfries Viking Hoard and its fascinating Carolingian pot stuffed with additional treasures, and the gorgeous pyramid-and-leaf late Roman gold fittings from a ceremonial robe that were confiscated from a looter in Germany. The United States got into the game in a big way this year, thanks to the discovery of the Saddle Ridge Hoard of mint-condition gold coins from the mid-to-late 1800s.

I think my favorite overall post of the year was the interview with maker of historical fonts Brian Willson of Three Island Press. He’s as generous and he is brilliant, his work is exceptional and if the New Year brings us a Nestler font, then I will consider it to have been one of the greatest on record.

Thank you once more for reading and commenting and emailing me tips to juicy history stories. Truly you are the bestest. May all your 2015s be replete with metaphoric (or literal!) gold hoards, shorthand mysteries and buffet tables groaning with fudge and almonds.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

The Ice Dragon is coming!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2014-12-30 19:29

The Ice Dragon is coming!

Once again the Rhydderich Hael invites the Known World to join the Barony for a day of food, fighting, pageantry, and fellowship. All set in the castle like setting of the historical Connecticut street armory! Ice Dragon offers a wide variety of activities and there is no excuse to go home unfulfilled.

Fighting: Ice Dragon offers a day full of heavy combat and fencing. The spacious first floor parade hall offers multiple lists for bear pits, pick up fights, and if time allows the odd melee and team events. With well over a hundred fighters expected it should prove a challenging and exciting day!

Salons: Located on the second floor and overlooking the fighting are the personal salons. Each Salon is a unique display of food, drink, and pageantry hosted by a mix of households, local groups, and individuals. People can enjoy relaxing in their private space all while getting a bird’s eye view of the fighting on the first floor. Salon space will book fast so make sure to reserve space as soon as possible.

Arts and Science: For the artisan’s pleasure Ice Dragon will once again host the “Pent”. This sprawling arts and science contest offers a wide selection of categories as well as youth and master work (Laurels Only) categories.  For the brave of heart there is the option of entering multiple categories and winning the coveted title of “Pentathlon Winner”!  Spectators are welcome to wander the hall and look at the entries.

Merchants: Save your pennies because Ice Dragon is also host to a wide selection of merchants selling everything from jewelry to clothing. Last year we had over 30 merchants packed into the first floor! If you are interested please reserve your spots as soon as possible. Prime space will go quickly.

Food and entertainment: All this action might leave a person a bit parched and hungry but fear not! The faithful tavern staff has planned a wonderful selection of food for the day and the tavern will once again host local entertainers for your viewing and listening pleasure. People interested in entertaining should contact the entertainment coordinator to book stage time.

The fine print:

When: March 21st, 2015

Times: Site Opens 0900 – Closes at 2100

Location: Connecticut Street Armory, 184 Connecticut St. Buffalo NY 14213

Costs (in US funds):

Adult pre-registration: 15.00

Adult onsite registration: 17.00

Child pre-registration (9-17): 8.00

Child onsite registrations (9-17): 9.00

Child 8 and under: FREE

Please make checks payable to SCA NY, inc – Barony of the Rhydderich Hael

Per Society, a $5 non-member surcharge will be collected at the event from any adults without proof of current membership.

Pre-reg Closes March 13th 2015.

Please note: We will NOT be using the ACCEPS on line payment system this year.

All visitors at the Armory are required to have Photo ID (except minors with their adult guardian)

Autocrat: Lord Magnus de Lyons (Lance Kazmark), 36 Wayne St. Depew NY 14043, 716-432-0763; magnusofnarnia@gmail.com

Reservations Clerk/Head Tollner: Send preregistration to: Wanda Spencer, THL Eleanore Godwin, 1396 Eggert Road, Amherst, NY 14226, 716-837-2431. No calls after 9pm, wcsteachhistory@yahoo.com

For more information and staff contact information please visit the Ice Dragon Website:

http://www.ice-dragon.info/ID2015_main.html

For up to the minute updates please visit the Ice Dragon Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1520346334873096/

Or contact the autocrat at: Magnusofnarnia@gmail.com

YIS

Lord Magnus de Lyons


Categories: SCA news sites

Mongol warship found near Japanese island

SCAtoday.net - Tue, 2014-12-30 19:15

Twice in seven years, 1274 and 1281, the Mongol Emperor Kublai Khan tried to invade Japan. On one of those missions a ship sank in a typhoon off the island of Takashima. Now arhaeologists hope to learn the secrets of the Mongol warship from the recently-discovered wreck.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Dracula imprisoned in Turkish castle

SCAtoday.net - Tue, 2014-12-30 18:32

Iconic baddie Vlad the Impaler seems to have slept more places than George Washington. The latest claim comes from Turkey which says that the young prince was held captive in a fortress there. Rachel Nuwer for Smithsonian Magazine online has the story. (photo)

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Categories: SCA news sites

Ice Dragon Beginnings

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2014-12-30 18:19

The time draws near, and the Ice Dragon stirs. From the annals of yore comes this article from the Fredonia college newspaper in 1977. Replete with the mists of time (and somewhat amusing journalism), we bring you the birth of one of the longest running events in the Known World.



Categories: SCA news sites

Købke’s romantic sunset is actually a sunny day

History Blog - Mon, 2014-12-29 23:39

Conservators at the National Gallery of Denmark (SMK) have discovered that View of Lake Sortedam, an 1838 landscape by Christen Købke that was thought for decades to depict a romantic sunset reflected in the russet lake waters, is in fact a bright sunny day over blue lake waters. Two women standing on a jetty seeing off a party in the rowboat on a summer evening at sundown is a wistful, melancholic scene. Make it high noon and the romantic theme of separation is distinctly less emphatic.

The artist painted the lake, which was then outside the old city of Copenhagen in a liminal suburb between the city and the rural country, with the express goal of getting it into the yearly exhibit of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. Rumor had it the Danish King was interested in acquiring the painting for the Royal Picture Gallery (now absorbed into the National Gallery of Denmark), and indeed, after the landscape was exhibited at the Royal Academy show in 1839, it was purchased by the monarch. View of Lake Sortedam was the first painting by Christen Købke in the Royal Picture Gallery.

That proved to be the pinnacle of his career during his lifetime. At the end of 1838, flush with a travel stipend from the Royal Academy, he traveled to Italy. Upon his return in 1840, he abandoned the romantic nationalism of his earlier work in favor of scenes based on sketches from his travels. These were not well received. He submitted one of those Italian landscapes in his application to become of a member of the Academy in 1846 and was rejected. Two years later he died of pneumonia at the age of just 37.

The importance of View of Lake Sortedam, in terms of subject matter, execution and period, was not recognized for more than a century after his death. In 1841 the King had the painting moved to his private apartment in Christiansborg Castle where it remained for 25 years. It only went on public view in 1864 when it was returned to the Royal Picture Gallery. When the National Gallery was established in 1896, Lake Sortedam moved there with the rest of the Royal Collection of Paintings, but as recently as the 1970s it was hanging above a door, not a location commensurate with its significance.

In the 1980s, art historians began to recognize the piece was one of Christen Købke’s most important paintings and it took a prominent place in exhibition of the artist’s work at home and abroad. It is now considered one of the signature Danish Golden Age paintings in the collection.

With little attention paid to it for a century and a half after it was painted, View of Lake Sortedam changed without people noticing it. The contrast between the pale blue of the sky and the red of the lake had caused some art historians to wonder if it was a natural phenomenon — the sun setting out of frame to the right could make the lake red while the sky was still light — or if perhaps the color had shifted over time.

Conservators at the SMK took small samples of paint from the lake and sky both in areas where they had been protected from the sun and exposed to it. The samples were analyzed using X-ray fluorescence and Raman spectroscopy to identify the chemical components of the paints Købke used.

The colours have changed due to a chemical reaction in the blue pigment, which is known as Prussian blue. The colour changes have been exacerbated by 176 years of exposure to light.

The sky has become paler and lighter. And the lake, which was painted using a mixture of red, blue, and white pigments, was originally a bluish grey. Now, however, it has taken on a reddish, purplish hue. The frame in which the work is set has protected the original colours out at the very edge – and this difference in colour piqued the conservator’s curiosity.

Kasper Monrad, senior researcher at the SMK, states that this new discovery completely changes how we should look at this painting. Up until this point the work was believed to be a romantic sunset scene. In the mid-1830s Købke painted many romantic artworks – and this work has been regarded as part of that group. In light of the new knowledge – that the scene actually shows a bright summer’s day – the work must be regarded as far less romantic in scope.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Gulf Wars XXIV Registration

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2014-12-29 16:56

If you intend to Stand With King Edward and Queen Thyra at Gulf Wars, please get your reservations in NOW!

The online ACCEPS registration system is available for this event. Mailed registrations must be postmarked by January 31, 2015. Links and forms are available at the Gulf Wars Registration page.


Filed under: Events Tagged: Gulf Wars

Embroiderers’ Schola in February

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2014-12-29 14:15

The Shire of Quintavia is pleased to once again host the Keepers of Athena’s Thimble at our second Embroiderers’ Schola!  As the wind blows cold and the snow lies deep, come join us by the fire for a day of artistry and learning.

This event will be a day of classes and good conversation focused on the art of the needle.  Classes will be held on all forms of embroidery and needlework.  All embroiderers are encouraged to bring their work to add to the display of needlework, and to present at the guild panel at the end of the day.

There will be a potluck lunch held mid-day. The event is donation only, no set fee.

Anyone interested in teaching should contact the Guildmistress of Athena’s Thimble:  Mistress Briony of Chatham.  Classes can be 1, 1.5, or 2 hours long. One classroom can easily be made dark enough for slides.

For more information, please see the event announcement.

 


Filed under: Arts and Sciences, Events Tagged: Quintavia, thimble

Charlottenburg Palace’s New Wing reopens after restoration

History Blog - Sun, 2014-12-28 23:50

Charlottenburg Palace, home of King Frederick the Great’s first court after he ascended the throne in 1740, reopened on December 26th after two years of renovations. It started out as a small private retreat in Lietzow, a village a mile or so west of Berlin, commissioned in 1695 by Electress Sophie Charlotte, sister of British King George I and wife of Elector Frederick III of Brandenburg. In 1701, Frederick would declare himself “King Frederick I in Prussia” (the “in” was to assure the Holy Roman Emperor that his aspirations to kingship would not bleed across the boundaries of the empire into his role as Prince-elector of Brandenburg).

Once her husband’s promotion made her a queen, Sophie Charlotte hired Swedish builder Johann Friedrich Eosander to expand her little country retreat into a Baroque palace modeled after Louis XIV’s Versailles. There she collected poets, painters, scholars, theologians and musicians around her, creating a vibrant cultural community at her Lietzow court. She died unexpectedly of pneumonia in 1705. She was just 36 years old. In her honor, Frederick renamed the palace and the town that grew up around it Charlottenburg.

Charlottenburg Palace was the original home of the fabled Amber Room. It was designed by Andreas Schlüter, the German baroque sculptor and architect who helped complete the palace after Johann Arnold Nering died in 1695, and built by Danish amber master craftsman Gottfried Wolfram. Frederick I commissioned it in 1701 in the afterglow of his coronation in Königsberg, a Baltic port city that had been famous for its amber artistry since the Middle Ages. Königsberg amber of every shade was pieced together into mosaic panels that were installed on the walls of a small game parlour in Charlottenburg Palace. Construction took a decade, from 1701 to 1711.

Tsar Peter the Great remarked on the room’s beauty during a visit to the palace. Recalling the tsar’s appreciation, in 1716 King Frederick William I of Prussia gave the room to Peter as a diplomatic gift marking Brandenburg-Prussia’s 1715 alliance with Russia against Sweden in the Great Northern War. He received “55 very tall Russian soldiers” in return. Frederick William shared little of his parents’ interest in the arts; expanding Prussia’s military was his thing, which is why he was more than willing to strip the amber off the walls to seal a military alliance and secure an elite cadre of leggy troops.

Charlottenburg, palace and town, were neglected under Frederick William’s reign. He stopped all building projects and even tried to revoke the town’s charter, although he did use the palace to receive state visitors and host grand family affairs. It wasn’t until his son Frederick II of Prussia, later dubbed Frederick the Great, came to the throne in 1740 that Charlottenburg was returned to its former prominence. Construction resumed and Frederick commissioned the Superintendent of all the Royal Palaces, Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff, to build a new east wing following Eosander’s design from four decades before.

The New Wing was lavishly appointed in rococo style. Rooms included the First and Second apartments of the King, the White Hall, the Banqueting Hall, the Golden Gallery and the Throne Room. Frederick housed his extensive collection of French paintings in the palace and later kings added a collection of marble and plaster sculptures that are excellent illustrations of the development of Berlin sculpture heavily influenced by classical Greece and Rome.

The palace was severely damaged by Allied bombing raids in 1943 and 1945. After the war it was rebuilt, unlike many other war-damaged palaces, making it the largest surviving Hohenzollern residence in Berlin. There were additional renovations in the 1950s and 60s, but the systems installed then are now outdated, inefficient and not in compliance with energy consumption, accessibility and fire safety regulations. In 2008, a major program of refurbishment began to address all the issues of Charlottenburg Palace in a comprehensive manner. The program has been divided into 10 parts so that visitors can continue to enjoy much of the palace even as work makes some areas inaccessible.

It’s the restoration of the New Wing that has just ended and while some of the biggest upgrades are unseen — new insulation between roof and ceiling, new climate control systems for the White Hall and Golden Gallery, a basement full of new fire monitoring technology — the entire envelope of the building has been carefully restored, from plaster and masonry elements of the façade to the windows, doors, wrought iron railings, external paint and roof tiles. With restoration complete, the sculpture and French painting collections are again on display in the newly reopened wing.

The two phases of the New Wing restoration cost €4.5 million while the entire project is expected to cost €14.3 million and will be completed in 2017.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

14th century caravansary open to the public in Jerusalem

SCAtoday.net - Sun, 2014-12-28 22:02

Near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem lies a complex of ancient buildings including Ahar Kotlenu a refurbished 14th century caravansary, an inn for caravans, now open to the public. The site includes a 3,500 square feet (325 square meters) grand hall with cross-vaulted stone roof held aloft by six reinforced pillars.

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Categories: SCA news sites

12 Things to Do Before Kingdom 12th Night

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2014-12-28 14:07

Less than 2 weeks to go till Æthelmearc Kingdom Twelfth Night!

Have you….

• Sent in your reservation?  (Even if you’re off-board, your
pre-registration will save you time/trouble at check-in. Plus, large
groups may request pre-seating so you and your friends can sit together.)

• Posted on the event’s Facebook page that you are planning to attend
and invited all your Facebook friends to come, too?  (No?  Find us here: https://www.facebook.com/events/663432110413436/)

• Put the finishing touches on your new finery?

• Found a mask to wear for the masked ball?  (Or are you planning to shop
for one at the event?  For links to the merchants’ websites, click here:
http://www.eg.bucknell.edu/~acg/Events/TwelfthNight2015.shtml#merchantlist)

• Practiced your best songs/stories for the Kingdom Bardic Championship
(for those who wish to compete) or the Bardic Showcase (for those wishing
to perform but not compete)?

• Thought about which tasty beverage(s) you want to share at the Brewers’
Guild Roundtable/ Competition and what you’ll donate to the Tasters’ Tavern?

• Created a gift for the Kingdom Gifts Display or a scroll blank for the
Scroll Blank Challenge? (For gift suggestions, go to
http://www.eg.bucknell.edu/~acg/Events/TwelfthNight2015.shtml.  Details
for the Challenge may be found at aethelmearc-scribes.org/ )

• Gathered your feastgear?  (The First Course is included in the site fee
and will be available to all.  YUM!)

• Contacted Lord Silvester Burchardt (doug_shannon AT hotmail DOT com) if
you have mobility issues?

• Contacted Baroness Bronwyn MacFhionghuin (damebronwynacg AT gmail DOT
com) if you have dietary concerns?

• Confirmed your hotel room or crash space accommodations?  (For local
hotels or crash space info, click here:
http://www.eg.bucknell.edu/~acg/Events/TwelfthNight2015.shtml#lodging)

• Visited the event website for details, including schedule, menu, and
map?  (If not, check it out at
http://www.eg.bucknell.edu/~acg/Events/TwelfthNight2015.shtml)

We hope to see you there!


Categories: SCA news sites

Artifacts from Scotland Yard’s Black Museum to go on public display

History Blog - Sat, 2014-12-27 23:18

In 1869 the passage of the Prisoners Property Act had made it legal for the police to use the property of prisoners for instructional purposes, so when the Central Prisoners Property Store was created at London’s Metropolitan Police headquarters in April of 1874, one Inspector Neame began to put together a small collection of objects to train recruits on the detection of burglary using the tools of the burglar’s trade. From that kernel the collection grew over the course of a year into a permanent museum of evidence from a range of crimes housed in the Met’s headquarters at 4 Whitehall Place whose back entrance, No. 1 Great Scotland Yard, became a metonym for the force itself.

For the first two years of its existence there are no records of the museum having any special visitors. It performed an educational function training police and Inspector Neame made certain it stuck to its purview. When a reporter from The Observer newspaper asked to be granted access to the museum, Neame refused spurring the reporter to print an article dubbing it “the Black Museum.” The first officially recorded visitors were police bigwigs in October of 1877. After that, the museum’s visitors book records a parade of celebrities including Gilbert and Sullivan, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Harry Houdini, the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII), Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, all keen to take a gander at the first museum dedicated to the tools of crime and its perpetrators.

As Scotland Yard (figurative) moved from Scotland Yard (literal), first to the other end of Whitehall Place in 1890 and then to Victoria Street in 1967, the museum moved with it. The current iteration dates to 1981 and is on the first floor of New Scotland Yard on Victoria Street. It has two rooms. The first is a replica of the original 1875 museum in Whitehall and contains weapons used to kill or cause serious injury in London (walking swords were very popular), objects from some of the Yard’s most notorious 19th century cases — Jack the Ripper’s “From Hell” and “Dear Boss” letters, Charles Peace’s burglary kit/violin case — full-head death masks of convicts hanged at Newgate Prison that were used in the Victorian era for phrenological study of their criminal skull bumps, hangman’s nooses labelled with the name of the person who swung from them until dead.

The second room covers 20th century crimes and has display cabinets dedicated to Famous Murders, Notorious Poisoners, Murder of Police Officers, Royalty, Bank Robberies, Espionage, Sieges, Hostages and Hijacking. Dennis Nilsen, serial killer of at least 12 boys and young men, is eerily represented by the small white stove and stock pot he used to boil the flesh off the bones of his victims before disposing of them. There’s the oil drum John George Haigh used to dissolve his six victims in concentrated sulfuric acid and the gallstone that survived the acid bath to help identify the victim. The museum has the ricin pellet used to assassinate Bulgarian dissident writer Georgi Markov and a replica of the umbrella used to fire the pellet into him as he waited at a bus stop on Waterloo Bridge on September 7th, 1978.

The museum’s macabre displays and exclusivity have inspired documentaries, a radio show hosted by Orson Welles and the 1959 horror classic Horrors of the Black Museum (in HypnoVista!) whose producer and writer, Herman Cohen, finagled a pass to visit the Black Museum via an inspector friend. It’s still part of the Met’s Crime Academy, mainly used today as a lecture theater, and you still have to make an appointment to see its collection of 20,000 objects. Appointments are very hard to come by; even serving police officers have to book a date.

Every once in a while there has been talk of the museum opening to the public to raise money for the police in this age of budget cuts, but nothing’s ever come of it. Now it seems something might. The Mayor’s Office and the Metropolitan Police are negotiating with the Museum of London to put some of the Black Museum’s artifacts on public display.

Stephen Greenhalgh, deputy mayor for policing and crime, confirmed the meetings with the museum “about how the fantastic story of the Met Police can be told in their museum,” adding the talks were ongoing and they were looking for sponsorship.

Despite anticipated interest, few exhibitions make money and no decision has yet been made whether visitors will be charged to see the planned exhibition. Curators are currently visiting the historical sites to identify the items they want to display. Officials will then discuss the ethical considerations of putting them on show.

The ethnical considerations primarily being the impact on the families of the victims (or of the criminals, for that matter). I wager they’ll stick to the historical crimes, the developement of modern policing, etc., things that are distant enough not to be horrific reminders to anyone connected with the many tragedies on display.

While the parties sort out the details, you can virtually experience a visit to the Black Museum of yore, courtesy of Hargrave L. Adam’s 1914 book Police Work from Within. (Scroll back to chapter two if you want to enjoy Adam’s extra-special thoughts on how the “education” and “emancipation” of women, scare quotes original, inevitably lead to criminality and death. Sneak preview: the ladies ruined America.)

Also, the full 1954 The Black Museum radio series is available at the Internet Archive. It’s rather fabulous, replete with classic radio dramatic music and re-enactments of the crimes. Each episode covers one particular artifact and tells its story. I’m embedding the playlist below because I can.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Gagliana Grossa subject of study by Texas A&M students

SCAtoday.net - Sat, 2014-12-27 16:31

In 1583, the merchant ship Gagliana Grossa sank off the coast of Biogradna Moru, in Croatia. Now the shipwreck has become a subject of study by a group of Texas A&M students led by Filipe Castro, in partnership with Irena Radic Rossi from the University of Zadar. (video)

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Categories: SCA news sites

Join Us at the Sterlynge Schola!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sat, 2014-12-27 16:04

Let the word go forth that the Shire of Sterlynge Vayle will be hosting The Sterlynge Schola on January 17, 2015 at the Trinity Memorial Church, 44 Main St., Binghamton NY. 13905.

The Site opens to the populace at 9:00am and closes at 6:00pm. We are planning classes from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., with a one-hour break for lunch at noon. Anyone found still lingering in the halls or classrooms after 5:30 p.m. may be pressed into service for site clean up.

Baron Malcolm Fitz Willelm has agreed to serve as Dean of the Schola. We have plenty of classrooms and would encourage all interested teachers to come and share their knowledge and all eager students to attend. We are hoping to have scribal, sewing, brewing, dancing, martial, heraldry and other classes. Please contact Baron Malcolm Fitz Willelm, MKA Gerry Hough, 4 ½ Minden Avenue, Binghamton, NY 13905 phone: 607-771-0534; e-mail: gerryhough AT yahoo.com, if you would like to teach a class, or if you have any questions regarding the classes being offered.

A hearty lunch will be available so that no one should go away hungry or miss an essential class. We are also hosting a travelers breakfast (muffins, hard boiled eggs, coffee, tea and juice) till 10:15am, and in the afternoon we would like to offer a challenge to the all the cooks attending – a subtlety competition with a winter theme. All subtleties will be displayed at 4:00pm with the competition being at 5:00pm, Tasting and devouring of the subtleties will be at 5:05pm. For dietary concerns you may contact Mariana MKA Michelle Yurko @ mmyurko AT AOL DOT com.

Fees for this day of learning and sharing will be as follows: Adults: $10.00; Youth (13-17): $8.00; Children (5-12): $6.00; and free for babes under 5. As a gesture of our thanks, instructors will be offered a discount of $2.00 off the day fee. We will collect the $5.00 non-member fee at the gate from those not carrying proof of current membership. Reservations must be sent to, Baroness Kayley , MKA Michele Greenmun, 65 Baldwin St, Binghamton, NY 13903. Checks shall be made payable to SCA, Inc. – Shire of Sterlynge Vayle.

The Autocrat for this event is Baroness Mariana Maria Pietrosanti, MKA Michelle Yurko, 917 Springview Dr. Endicott NY 13760, who may be contacted by cell phone at 607-725-9680 or e-mail mmyurko AT aol.com with any questions.

Directions: Find your best route to Binghamton, New York (we are fortunate to be directly on route 81 and route 17/I-86.) Use Exit 5 off I-81 North or South via NYS 17/I-86 or I-81. Exit 5 serves Broome Community College and downtown Binghamton and empties into Front Street/US Rte 11. Turn left (south) onto Front Street. Drive south to the intersection of Front Street and Main Street. Turn right onto Main Street and drive one block. Trinity Episcopal Church will be on the corner on your right, turn right onto Oak Street. Parking is available in the parking lots on your right beyond the church.

The official event announcement can be found in the Kingdom Newsletter, The Æstel. This unofficial event announcement is being printed as a courtesy to the autocrat, and the Gazette is not liable for any changes to the event or event listing.


Categories: SCA news sites

Their Majesties Announce Changes For Tournament Marshaling

East Kingdom Gazette - Sat, 2014-12-27 12:35

Unto Our Populace,

We have been working on plans to bring more transparency to the way we marshal tournaments, and the manner in which we as a kingdom deal with questionable results when they arise.

We apologize for the pace of our communications to you. We have talked to Our Earl Marshal and various members of the marshallate. We have talked to Our Order of Chivalry. We have talked to Our kingdom Seneschal and our Ombudsman. We have talked to many of you, and tried to make ourselves available to hear your concerns and advice.

When conduct during a tournament is called into question, the tournament can and should be paused or suspended. We should have suspended Our Crown tournament, whether for a few minutes or more, to give the combatants the time to remember themselves and their responsibilities to the kingdom. This option did not occur to Us at the time.

We instruct Our marshallate, chivalry and all peers to resolve misunderstandings or issues before the tournament advances. If that leads to delays or temporary suspensions of a tournament, that is appropriate. The populace should not be left in doubt as to the outcome of a bout or tournament, particularly in situations when conduct has deteriorated.

We will be adopting a policy of active marshaling similar to one used by the Midrealm, which can be found here, and We encourage you to read it. Our policy will be in place by Birka. This will bring a more disciplined approach with greater transparency to the role of marshaling at Eastern tournaments.

We also plan to amend EK Law at our Birka Curia, to limit the existing exemption in the complaint procedure for Royalty, to specify only the King and Queen. This situation needed a clear process for bringing issues to light and for following through to a resolution. In matters as significant to the kingdom as the succession, We are duly hesitant to set any precedent for the King and Queen overturning the results of their Crown List. This update to Eastern Law will bring us into compliance with Corpora’s recommendation that our kingdom escalate concerns through an internal review process, up to a Grievance Committee, Court of Chivalry or a Court of Courtesy.

We are a kingdom of laws, and we must act within the bounds of those laws. We must also redouble our efforts to apply our laws evenly regardless of social station and rank. Rank is awarded for noble efforts, and assigned with the requirement to serve this kingdom and it populace.

Thank you for being a kingdom that we are proud to lead.
Edward & Thyra
Rex & Regina Orientalis


Filed under: Heavy List, Law and Policy

Rennie killed by police after attack on Mexican Consulate

SCAtoday.net - Sat, 2014-12-27 10:23

Renaissance fair enthusiast Larry Steven McQuilliams was killed by police recently after firing more than 100 rounds at the Mexican Consulate and other buildings in Austin, Texas. McQuilliams was reportedly upset by US immigration policy. (photo)

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Categories: SCA news sites

Sailor’s coat from USS Monitor ready for display

History Blog - Fri, 2014-12-26 23:41

After more than a dozen years, a sailor’s coat that was recovered from the gun turret of the Civil War ironclad warship USS Monitor is about to go on public display. Conserving this compelling artifact was an incredibly hard task, starting with the act of removing it from the ship. The 150-ton revolving gun turret, a revolutionary innovation that made a strong impression with its two massive Dahlgren artillery guns manned by 14 sailors but that was problematic in practice, was raised from the protected wreck site on August 5th, 2002. It was found inverted as it had flipped upside-down when the ship capsized and the skeletal remains of two crewmen were buried under coal, assorted debris and the Dahlgren guns.

Amidst that debris was a wet mass of fabric wrapped around a group of gun tools including a rammer and a worm (a device used to clean unspent powder from the barrel). It was heavily concreted, part of a hardened mass of iron corrosion salts, marine life and sediment that formed over the 141 years the wreck spent under 220 feet of salt water. The concretion had grown into the woven fiber of fabric, and removing the textile from so firm an embrace required painstakingly precise use of hand and pneumatic chisels. It took days of work just to dislodge it.

That was just the beginning. We have very few textiles recovered from shipwrecks as they tend to decay quickly in the ocean water, so there isn’t exactly a manual of how to go about preserving a Civil War-era wool coat pried out of the jaws of an iron-clad gun turret. Conservators next placed it in a long, leisurely fresh water bath to slowly leach the ocean minerals out of the fabric. It would take many, many more baths over the next decade plus. In between soakings, conservators worked on cleaning the concretions still on the surface and interior of the coat using ultrasonic dental scalers. Then they worked on removing the rust stains.

They found that although the very fine merino-type wool was still in surprisingly pliable condition, the cotton threads that had stitched the sections together were long gone. Add to that the stress from the wreck and ocean living and the garment had come apart into 180 pieces. An estimated 85-90% of it had survived but far from intact, and there was no chance it could be completely stitched back together because the fabric was just too fragile.

Textile conservators Colleen Callahan and Newbold Richardson reached out to the museum and conservation community to see if anybody could recognize the garment from the pieces. Karen France, Chief Curator of the Navy Museum, identified it as a double-breasted sack jacket known as a “pilot’s jacket.” The Monitor‘s may be the only one of its kind to have survived. It was privately made and then modified for military use. Black rubber buttons marked “U.S.N” over two stars and an anchor that had come off when the cotton string fixing them to the coat rotted away, were found next to the coat.

Callahan and Richardson worked hard to piece together some of the 180 fragments so that they could be mounted on archival backing and arranged for display in a way that made it look like a proper coat even if still in pieces.

Following a trail of evidence left by residual stains, stitching holes and the weave of the fabric, Richardson reassembled the front and back panels of the coat, while Callahan worked on the sleeves.

“It was like a jigsaw puzzle,” Callahan says, “and even after all our work we could not find a place for every piece.”

Now fully laid out on their protective mounts, the sections of the coat look much as they might have before being assembled by their original maker.

Six long-separated black rubber buttons bearing the letter “U.S.N.”and an anchor have been reunited with the fabric, fastened down through hidden magnets.

Part of an iron handle from a gunnery tool remains embedded in the cloth, too, left to preserve both the fragile weave and a dramatic part of the Monitor’s story.

“What better way to tell the story of the ship’s sinking — and to put people back in that exact moment of time — than a coat that was discarded by someone trying to escape the turret,” Hoffman says.

Conservators have freeze-dried the coat pieces to remove the last water still in the textile from the many baths and now they are ready for display at the USS Monitor Center.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History